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Running the Batteries

123

A baleful brand, a hurrying torch

Whereby anew the boats are seenA burning transport all alurch !

Breathless we gaze; yet still we glean Glimpses of beauty as we eager lean.

The effulgence takes an amber glow

Which bathes the hillside villas far;
Affrighted ladies mark the show

Painting the pale niagnolia-
The fair, false, Circe light of cruel War.

The barge drifts doomed, a plague-struck one,

Shoreward in yawls the sailors fly. But the gauntlet now is nearly run,

The spleenful forts by fits reply, And the burning boat dies down in morning's sky.

All out of range. Adieu, Messieurs !

Jeers, as it speeds, our parting gun.
So burst we through their barriers

And menaces every one;
So Porter proves himself a brave man's son.

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Y the shrouded gleam of the western skies,

Brave Keenan looked in Pleasanton's eyes For an instant-clear, and cool, and still ; Then, with a smile, he said: “I will.”

keenan's Cbarge

125

“Cavalry, charge !” Not a man of them shrank ;
Their sharp, full cheer, from rank on rank,
Rose joyously, with a willing breath-
Rose like a greeting hail to death.
Then forward they sprang, and spurred, and clashed;
Shouted the officers, crimson-sashed;
Rode well the men, each brave as his fellow,
In their faded coats of the blue and yellow ;
And above in the air, with an instinct true,
Like a bird of war their pennon flew.

With clank of scabbards and thunder of steeds,
And blades that shine like sunlit reeds,
And strong brown faces bravely pale,
For fear their proud attempt shall fail,
Three hundred Pennsylvanians close
On twice ten thousand gallant foes.

Line after line the troopers came
To the edge of the wood that was ring'd with flame;
Rode in and sabred and shot,and fell :
Nor came one back his wounds to tell.
And full in the midst rose Keenan, tall
In the gloom, like a martyr awaiting his fall,
While the circle-stroke of his sabre, swung
'Round his head, like a halo there, luminous hung.
Line after line, ay, whole platoons,
Struck dead in their saddles, of brave dragoons

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By the maddened horses were onward borne
And into the vortex Aung, trampled and torn ;
As Keenan fought with his men, side by side.

So they rode, till there were no more to ride.

But over them lying there, shattered and niute,
What deep echo rolls ? 'T is a death salute
From the cannon in place; for, heroes, you braved
Your fate not in vain : the army was saved !
Over them now-year following year-
Over their graves the pine-cones fall,
And the whippoorwill chants his spectre-call ;
But they stir not again; they raise no cheer :
They have ceased. But their glory shall never cease,
Nor their light be quenched in the light of peace.
The rush of their charge is resounding still,
That saved the army at Chancellorsville.

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OT 'mid the lightning of the stormy fight,

Did kingly Death, with his resistless might,

Lay the great leader low.

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His warrior soul its earthly shackles broke

In the full sunshine of a peaceful town ; When all the storm was hushed, the trusty oak

That propped our cause went down.

Though his alone the blood that flecks the ground,

Recording all his grand, heroic deeds,
Freedom herself is writhing with the wound,

And all the country bleeds.

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He entered not the Nation's Promised Land

At the red belching of the cannon's mouth ; But broke the House of Bondage with his hand

The Moses of the South !

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